Translating health care: Stories from refugees, providers, and friends

Miriam Mara, Kevin Brooks

Abstract


Drawing on interviews and participatory observation, this article weaves stories of translating healthcare told from the perspectives of refugees, health care providers, and friends. The research finds that while literal translations of documents and information are important to the health care process for refugees of New Americans, cultural translations of concepts like health care and preventive care are perhaps even more important. That translation, however, is not simple or literal either; refugees and New Americans may resist, or remain suspicious of, these concepts even once understood. Friends of refugees can provide an important role in helping with cultural and institutional translations, and their role should be consider as part of a culturally-centered approach to healthcare, as outlined by Dutta (2008). Note: all participant and researcher names have been changed in order to protect human subjects.

“The introduction of the voice of the subaltern participant in the discursive space elucidates the interaction between structure and agency” (Dutta, 2008 p. 248).

Keywords


health care; translation; refugees

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